April 18, 2021

How to Say Hello in Japanese: Basic Beginning Phrases

Meeting for the First Time

はじめまして hajimemashite - Nice to meet you [literally, this is "(we are) beginning"]

どうぞ よろしく お願いします。 douzo yoroshiku onegaishimasu - Nice to meet you [this literally means something like, "please accept me" or "treat me kindly, please."]

こちらこそ  kochirakoso - Same here (it's nice to meet you too)


私は___です。 watashi wa _____ desu. I am ______.

私は___と申します。 watashi wa ___ to moushimasu. I am _____. (more polite) [Literally, "I am called..."]

お名前は? onamae wa? What is your name?

こちらは田中さんです。 kochira wa tanaka san desu. This is Mr. (or Ms/Mrs) Tanaka.

私はアメリカからきました。 watashi wa amerika kara kimashita. I am from America.


おはようございます ohayou gozaimasu Good morning.

こんにちは konnichi wa Hello (during the day)

こんばんは konban wa Good evening


元気ですか? genki desu ka? How are you?

元気です。 genki desu. I'm fine.

英語がわかりますか? eigo ga wakarimasu ka? Do you know English?

日本語が少し話せます。nihongo ga sukoshi hanasemasu. I can speak a little Japanese.

もっとゆっくり話してください。 motto yukkuri hanashite kudasai. Please speak slower.

もう一回言ってください。 mou ikkai itte kudasai. Please say that again.

分かりますか? wakarimasu ka? Do you understand?

分かりません。 wakarimasen. I don't understand.

分かります。 wakarimasu. I understand.

Holidays, Special Occasions:

あけまして おめでとう! akemashite omedetou - Happy New Year!

今年も どうぞ よろしく kotoshi mo douzo yoroshiku - This year too, show me kindness.

( 本日は )  おめでとう ございます (honjitsu wa) omedetou gozaimasu - (On this day) Congratulations!!!

Thank You

Here are a series of variations on "thank you." Note the longer the phrase, the more polite it is.

どうも ありがとう ございます。 doumo arigatou gozaimasu - Thank you very much

ありがとうございます。arigatou gozaimasu - Thank you

ありがとう arigatou - Thanks

どうも doumo - Thanks!

どういたしまして douitashimashite You're welcome.

I'm Sorry 

ごめんなさい gomen nasai -I am sorry. 

すみません sumimasen - I am sorry; Pardon, but... [used when apologizing like the previous entry, but it is also used for getting someone's attention]

申し訳ございません moushi wake gozaimasen - I have no excuse for my bad behavior, sorry.


バイバイ bai bai Bye bye

またね mata ne See you again

さようなら sayounara Good-bye

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